I discovered this robust Tuscan mushroom sauce when I attended a cooking class to learn how to make the lightest possible gnocchi. Ironically, the sauce is so rich and heavy that I didn’t want to serve it with gnocchi, but what a great sauce. Grazie, Paola! We love to serve it with a grilled veal chop and polenta.
The chopped vegetables are known as battuto. Traditionally they are hacked up with a curved knife called a mezzaluna, a knife that requires some expertise to use. You may chop everything with a cleaver or chef’s knife, or you may pulse the vegetables in the food processor but be careful not to puree them.
Rinse the mushrooms and soak 1 hour in hot water to cover. Drain and finely chop; set aside. Strain the soaking liquid through cheesecloth and reserve.
Melt the butter in a heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add all the vegetables except the tomatoes and cook until tender and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Pulse the tomatoes with their juices in a food processor until coarsely chopped and add to the pan. Add the chopped mushrooms and
Heat the grill or broiler. Brush the chops with oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill or broil until medium-rare, 4 to 5 minutes each side.
Reheat the sauce if necessary and spoon it over the chops. Serve with polenta.
© 1998 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.